Best Sellers Club December Authors: Elin Hilderbrand and Jayne Ann Krentz

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! December’s authors are Elin Hilderbrand for fiction and Jayne Ann Krentz for romance.

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Our December fiction author is Elin Hilderbrand. Hilderbrand is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her first novels were published by St. Martin’s Press and then she subsequently moved to Little, Brown, and Company.  All of her novel’s are set on or near to Nantucket Island, where she lives. She likes to draw inspiration from her local surroundings by drawing on what she knows. Hilderbrand’s novels focus on romance and friendships along the beaches of Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s newest novel is Golden Girl, published on June 1, 2021.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

In this #1 bestselling page-turner a Nantucket novelist has one final summer to protect her secrets while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl.

On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three nearly grown children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident while jogging near her home on Nantucket. She ascends to the Beyond where she’s assigned to a Person named Martha, who allows Vivi to watch what happens below for one last summer. Vivi also is granted three “nudges” to change the outcome of events on earth, and with her daughter Willa on her third miscarriage, Carson partying until all hours, and Leo currently “off again” with his high-maintenance girlfriend, she’ll have to think carefully where to use them.

From the Beyond, Vivi watches “The Chief” Ed Kapenash investigate her death, but her greatest worry is her final book, which contains a secret from her own youth that could be disastrous for her reputation. But when hidden truths come to light, Vivi’s family will have to sort out their past and present mistakes—with or without a nudge of help from above—while Vivi finally lets them g row without her.

With all of Elin’s trademark beach scenes, mouth-watering meals, and picture-perfect homes, plus a heartfelt message—the people we lose never really leave us—Golden Girl is a beach book unlike any other.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our December romance author is Jayne Ann Krentz. Krentz is the author of fifty New Tork Times bestsellers. She writes under three different pen names, but only the books written under the name Jayne Ann Krentz are available through the Best Sellers club. Under her married name, Jayne Ann Krentz, she writes contemporary romantic suspense. Under the name Amanda Quick, she writes novels of historical romantic suspense. Her final name, Jayne Castle, is used for futuristic/paranormal romantic suspense. Before she began writing full time, Krentz worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.

Krentz’s latest book is Lightning in a Mirror, the third book in the Fogg Lake series. This book will be published on January 18th, 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

Lightning in a Mirror is the final installment in the chilling Fogg Lake trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz.

Olivia LeClair’s experiment with speed dating is not going well. First there was the nasty encounter with the date from hell who tried to murder her and now the mysterious Harlan Rancourt—long believed dead—sits down at her table and tells her she’s the only one who can help him locate the legendary Vortex lab.

This is not what Olivia had in mind when she signed up for the Four Event Success Guaranteed package offered by the dating agency. She doesn’t have much choice, though, because her psychic investigation firm works for the mysterious Foundation and Victor Arganbright, the director, is adamant that she assist Harlan. There’s just one problem—no one knows Harlan’s real agenda. His father once ran the Foundation like a mob organization, and Harlan was destined to be his heir. There’s a real possibility Harlan has returned to claim his inheritance.

For now, however, it’s a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend because others are after the secrets of the long-lost lab. Unfortunately for Olivia, the one thing friend and foe have in common is that everyone is convinced she is the key. Her unique psychic talent is required to defuse the ticking time bomb that is Vortex.

Neither trusts the other but Olivia and Harlan soon realize they must work together to survive and unlock the Bluestone Project’s most dangerous secrets before more innocent people die.

This book is also available in the following format:

The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta

Genderqueer and genderfluid representation abound in this utopic LGBTQ read about the magical power of food to divide or unite people and communities, a book which doubles as a love letter to Austin’s LGBTQ scene.

In A.R. Capetta’s The Heartbreak Bakery, Syd (no pronouns, please, just Syd) is a baker finishing high school while working full time at The Proud Muffin, an invaluable community space/cafe. Syd also just got dumped, ending a relationship that had spanned both middle and high school. To cope, Syd does the only possible thing: baking. But when Syd’s Unexpected Brownies hit the cafe floor, something strange happens: every couple that has one breaks up. Messily and immediately. Including the owners of The Proud Muffin. Racked with guilt and fear of losing a great workplace and second home, Syd resolves to find the perfect recipe to fix each shattered relationship. And who better to help than Harley, friendly cafe delivery person – check the pronoun pin on Harley’s bag to find the day’s pronouns. As they chase down each customer and make magical bakes, Syd and Harley grow closer. But is new love and magical baking enough to save The Proud Muffin?

If you’ve seen my YouTube videos for the library, you know I am an unskilled but enthusiastic baker – so you won’t be surprised that I loved Syd’s detailed, helpful recipes that were included in the text. I also loved Syd’s determined, “I can fix this” attitude, and the descriptions of Syd’s “fashion recipes” as Syd tries to express a vague sense of gender through creative outfits. The book as a whole does a good job at showing the rich spectrum of gender and sexuality in a vibrant, hopeful queer community. There’s also some thoughtful examinations of how relationships grow, break and heal, and the bakes that accompany each feeling make the story a treat for all senses. Best of all, despite the serious topics it digs into, the tone of the book is gentle and kind, hopeful of the best outcomes for everyone.

If you like stories of new love, healing after heartbreak, learning lessons about growing up, and – most importantly – food, this is the book for you.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

A light, quick read with small-town urban fantasy vibes, diverse representation, and a pacifist take on the good vs. evil struggle.

In Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, we meet Nova, a young witch who lives with her grandmothers in her hometown, working at their bookshop. She’s hard-of-hearing, skilled in magic, and passes the time with her non-magical, scientific best friend. But then she’s sent to check out a sighting of strange lights and a white wolf in the nearby woods. When she arrives she discovers the white wolf is not only real, but her long-lost childhood friend Tam. Non-binary Tam is on the run, from their family and from a sinister cult that has a nefarious use for werewolves in its quest to raise a demon. Nova and her grandmothers give Tam a safe place to stay, and much-needed allies against their mysterious enemies – and as time passes Nova and Tam’s friendship turns to romance. But the demon and the cult have to be dealt with, forcing both Nova and Tam to learn about trust and teamwork.

The wholesome atmosphere of this short graphic novel is a welcome respite, and the ultimate message of family and harmony with nature triumphing over darkness is a pleasing and hopeful read in 2021. Good interludes include scenes of Nova’s cultural heritage and her growth toward independence, alongside Tam’s healing from trauma and feeling at home with Nova’s family — and any scenes with Nova’s grandmothers. I appreciated reading a healthy, imperfect family dynamic, as well as casual representation of a non-binary character who uses they/them pronouns.

Easily readable in one sitting, Mooncakes is recommended for lovers of magical realism, coming-of-age stories, and gentle reads.

Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking For Love by Kim Fielding

Classic but not cliched, this is a story of misadventures and misconceptions that will absolutely capture your heart. Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking For Love by Kim Fielding tells the age-old story of how appearances can be deceiving and opportunities can come from places you’re not expecting.

After a sour ending to his relationship, Teddy Spenser decided that love was not something he wanted. He wanted to focus on work and make a life for himself, without the inevitable hurt and heartbreak of love. He definitely didn’t want to see what could happen with his aloof, buttoned-up, out of touch and totally gorgeous coworker, Romeo Blue. But then their boss sends them on a business trip to woo an rich and eccentric investor to back their project. Not only do they get off to a rocky start, but then the investor sends them on three weird quests to prove their worthiness, and Teddy feels like he just can’t catch a break. However, all the time alone with Romeo is starting to show Teddy that he might need to rethink some of his assumptions about him – and maybe his assumptions about love, too…

Did I know what was going to happen in this book? Absolutely. Did that make it less fun and sweet? Absolutely NOT. This book understood its assignment and does it very well. Good features include a motley crew of characters, lighthearted tone, steady pace, and generally uplifting theme: that second chances do happen and dreams do come true. Maybe it’s current events talking, but I think this is a very necessary book to refresh hope and optimism – and have a laugh along the way.

If you love classic tropes of romance and fanfiction (including ‘there was only one bed’), or you need a book to make you believe in love again, this is the story for you!

Best Sellers Club October Authors: Stuart Woods & Susan Mallery

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! October’s authors are Stuart Woods for fiction and Susan Mallery for romance.

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Our October fiction author is Stuart Woods. Woods is most well-known for his Stone Barrington series. He has written more than seventy-five novels, but began his writing career in the advertising industry. His debut novel, Chiefs, was released in 1981 and won the Edgar Award.

Woods’ latest book is Criminal Mischief, which will be published in December 2021. Criminal Mischief is book 60 in the Stone Barrington series.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

In this exhilarating new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Stuart Woods, Stone Barrington goes up against an enemy on the run.

After a dangerous adventure has him traveling up and down the coast, Stone Barrington is looking forward to some down time at his Manhattan abode. But when an acquaintance alerts him to a hinky plot being hatched across the city, he finds himself eager to pursue justice.

After the mastermind behind it all proves more evasive than anyone was expecting, Stone sets out on an international chase to places he’s never gone before. With the help of old friends—and alluring new ones—Stone is determined to see the pursuit through to the end, even if it means going up against a foe more unpredictable than he has ever faced…

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our October romance author is Susan Mallery. Mallery is a New York Times bestselling author who specializes in writing novels about the relationships that define women’s lives – family, friendship, and romance. 40 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide and have been published in 28 languages.

Mallery’s latest book is The Summer Getaway, which will be published in March 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

One woman discovers the beauty in chaos in this poignant and heartwarming story about the threads that hold family together from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.

With her divorce settlement about to run out and a mortgage she can’t afford, Robyn Caldwell needs a plan for her future. She nurtured her family and neglected herself. But how’s she supposed to think when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could bring everything crashing down on Robyn’s head? So when her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane.

But it’s hard to run away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she left behind follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more she sees the appeal in taking chances—on dreams, on love, on family. Life is meant to be lived on purpose. All she has to do is muster the courage to take a chance on herself.

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Katherine Center’s newest novel What You Wish For is fast-paced, engaging, and whimsical. Even though it deals with heavy topics, Center manages to share the message that choosing joy in the midst of difficult and painful times will help you heal.

Samantha Casey is a school librarian. She has been in Galveston, Texas for only a couple of years, but in this short time she has managed to carve out a life that makes her happy. Sam loves her job, the kids that come to visit her in the library, and her school family. Her new school fits the new Sam: colorful, fun, engaging, and full of personality. After disaster strikes the school, Sam finds herself floundering. The new school year has been thrown into chaos, but with the hiring of Duncan Carpenter, Sam is hopeful that the school will begin to heal.

Sam knows Duncan. Well, she knew the old Duncan. The new Duncan is rigid. He lives by rules and regulations. He believes that he needs to upgrade the school because the way it is now is only asking for bad things to happen. The old Duncan did not care about rules. He was the cool teacher, the one who juggled, wore funny clothes, and advocated for anything and everything fun. Sam had the biggest crush on lovable old Duncan, but the old Sam was too timid. She has changed so much in just a couple years and is hopeful that she can turn Duncan back into the fun-loving man she remembered from before.

Sam and Duncan couldn’t be more different now. Duncan only wants to protect the school even if that means that he has to destroy it. Desperate to save the school, Sam and some other teachers work to remind Duncan of the joy he used to feel. While helping Duncan remember who he used to be, Sam finds herself wanting to know him again.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Bookseller’s Boyfriend by Heidi Cullinan

I waited a long time on hold to get this book, and I’m excited to finally talk about it! The Bookseller’s Boyfriend by Heidi Cullinan is a heartwarming happily-ever-after about a bookseller and his favorite author pretending to date and unexpectedly falling for each other. In a nice coincidence, the author uses they / them pronouns  and is from Iowa – so they and I have a lot in common in addition to loving a good happy ending.

The novel switches between the perspectives of Rasul, a successful author struggling with writer’s block and a bad breakup, and Jacob, a bookstore owner who’s always loved Rasul’s work. Jacob knows you should never meet your heroes, so he’s apprehensive when Rasul moves to town on a temporary academic residency. Rasul is on a tight deadline and desperately needs to get away from his toxic ex, but is surprised to find Jacob’s store and apartment such a calming haven – not to mention the heat of their attraction. They pretend to be dating to help clean up Rasul’s image, but slowly their feelings become real, and they both have to face their demons to reach the future they want to create together.

There was so much I loved about this book. Cullinan packs in a crowd of well-drawn supporting characters, with backstory that’s clearly been deeply thought out. The plot is aware of romance tropes (in this case, “fake dating” applies, and the concept echoes Beauty and the Beast) but doesn’t get bogged down in them, choosing instead to follow what really works to help the characters work through their issues and come together naturally. Thoughtful engagement with the publishing process and the dark side of social media is a really effective thread that runs through the romantic story. Book lovers might also appreciate the loving nods to the fantasy and speculative fiction genres. Best of all, the inclusion of LGBTQ and racial identities is detailed, intentional and touches on the struggles of bi and pansexual men in the larger landscape. My only concern was that Cullinan put so much into this book that not everything could be covered in a comprehensive way, but I think for the space they had they did a fantastic job crafting a story, and a relationship, that’s grounded in deep emotions that will really resonate with readers.

A novel of mutual courtship, healing, creating community, and the struggle of creativity, The Bookseller’s Boyfriend is a sweetly simmering slow burn that romance fans won’t want to miss. If you’re looking for a romance with a lot of community, intelligence, and heart – and a good pinch of passionate heat – definitely try this book.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Jesse Q. Sutanto has written a deliciously entertaining story that covers a wide variety of topics in her latest book Dial A for Aunties. Combining comedy, drama, murder, and culture, Dial A for Aunties tells the story of a Chinese-Indonesian family stuck in a humorous, yet deadly, situation.

Meddelin Chan loves her family. They may drive her slightly crazy, but they are always there for her. Her mother and three meddling aunts never hesitate to come whenever Meddy calls, which is something that she both loves and doesn’t fully appreciate. This loyalty comes in handy when Meddy suddenly finds herself with a dead body. Her aunties and mother quickly come to her aid to help her with this disastrous situation.

This couldn’t come at a more desperate time for the family though as it is the weekend of the biggest wedding job their family has ever had. Truly a family business, one aunt handles the cake, another is the singer, another the makeup and hair, her mother the flowers, and Meddy herself as the wedding photographer. Together they are responsible for an incredibly expensive and over-the-top billionaire’s wedding that is taking place at a brand new island resort on the California coast. Just as Meddy and her family think they have found a solution, something goes awry, leaving them scrambling to divert major disaster.

To make matters worse, Meddy’s greatest love, and her biggest heartbreak, shows up in the middle of this complete disaster. Can Meddy hide the body, divert the police’s attention, pull off this career-making wedding, AND get her ex back? With the help of her aunties, Meddy may be able to get everything she ever wanted.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Out of Character by Annabeth Albert

Conventionally Yours captured hearts with its story of card gamers falling from hate to love, and now Annabeth Albert is back with its sequel, Out of Character, the story of a devoted card gamer and the former jock who once lost his trust – and who now might steal his heart.

Jasper Quigley is usually the ‘funny friend’, the third wheel or the comic relief. And frankly, it’s getting old. But he’s not so desperate as to be happy when his ex-best-friend comes begging for his help. Milo wasn’t there for him when he needed it most, and that’s not something Jasper ever wants to forgive. But Milo’s been conned out of his brother’s rare, expensive Odyssey game cards and only Jasper can help him replace them. Since Jasper also needs someone to help with his cosplay group’s visit to the children’s hospital, he figures they can make a deal which helps them both – but also keeps Milo at arm’s length. But the more time they spend together, the more he sees Milo’s regret over the past, and his desire to make things right.  And if their friendship can get a second chance, who’s to say love isn’t on the cards?

There was so much to love in this book. The characters were so distinct, with unique perspectives, that it was easy to tell everyone apart and get invested. As in its predecessor, this book touched on the full spectrum of abilities, from the chronically ill to learning disabilities, which was a refreshing and grounded take. I liked that this book focused on a very different angle than Conventionally Yours, so the reader gets introduced to a different side of fan culture, including its mainstream reception: Milo is embarrassed to be in costume in public, until he sees what a difference it makes to the kids at the children’s hospital to play with their favorite characters. I also thought Albert did a good job showing the many different anxieties and coming-out experiences that people have, depending on their family life and circumstances. It’s an excellent story of mutual respect and meeting each other halfway to make a real relationship work.

If you like card games, cosplay, a quest for redemption, or a romance with just enough drama and lots of heart, this might well be the book for you.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Here is a fun rom-com with two appealing main characters, a modern setting and a classic will they-won’t they slow burn, all showcased in The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun.

Dev is the producer for long-running dating reality show called Ever After (think The Bachelor). He truly believes in happy endings and loves the idea of helping two people find true love. As a new season is getting started, the lucky bachelor is Charlie, a tech wunderkind. Charlie seems perfect – he is handsome and wealthy and smart, but the production crew soon learns that there is a problem – he is a wreck in front of the camera.

Charlie stumbles over his words and is awkward and shy with the contestants. This does not make for good television. So Dev is assigned to work with Charlie, help him relax and enjoy the adventures the show sets up for the program. And it works. Charlie learns how to steady his nerves and what to say to the women when he goes on dates with them.

But now there’s another problem – the more time Dev and Charlie spend together and get to know each other, the more they begin to fall for each other. This is not what the television show had in mind. The show insists that Charlie continue as outlined in his contract.

Will Dev get his happily ever after and will Charlie have the courage to go after his true love?

This is a quick read that’s lots of fun with witty banter and appealing characters who work against stereotype (including the women who are contestants on the show). Recommended for a lazy weekend read!